Sarah Winchester Mystery House is definitely a mystery

By Chris A Hale

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, May 24 2014 12:00 p.m. MDT

Kim was impressed with the Tiffany stained-glass windows and rolls of unused William Morris wallpaper in storage. Between the glass and the wallpaper, the value is enough to put the entire BYU football and basketball teams through four years of college. Heck, throw in the cheerleaders and the Cougar Marching Band, and there would still be much more than enough.

My lasting impression of the house was seeing the Victorian influence of architecture give way to Craftsman as the construction passed from one century to the next.

I also found it interesting the house had low-rising steps that sometimes traversed back and forth several times just to ascend one floor. This is best explained by understanding Sarah was under five feet tall and the low risers were convenient for her arthritis.

She also must have had an affinity for the number 13 because it can be found virtually everywhere in the house. From the number of drain holes in a sink to the number of coat hooks on a wall, the use of 13 is not coincidental.

The house also has three elevators and one of the first showers ever in existence, although Sarah died before it could ever be used.

Old photos show the remains of a chimney that once had a window right in the center with a view outside. Unfortunately, the chimney was damaged during the earthquake, and the window is no longer there.

At the time of Sarah’s death in 1922, several parts of the house were unfinished, and they are now painted black so visitors can see what was being worked on when construction finally stopped.

All in all, the house is really extraordinary and comes highly recommended by this travel writer.

Chris Hale is an aviation maintenance technician for a major airline and has traveled extensively with his family. In his spare time, he writes novels inspired by places he's been. Find out more about his books at chrisahale.com.

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